Friday, November 18, 2005

More About Sago Street - Chu Chun Sing


These windows used to share the same room…was a large room indeed! Used to be occupied by [散 仔 ] - i.e. men who were odd jobbers and shared the monthly rental .. to cut cost. My grandmother was the rent collector /in-charge rather. They used to call her [包租婆]


This lane which links Smith street to Sago Street, holds many, many memories; and is witness to numerous incidents and events.


andrew said...

Hey, thanks for bringing back the memories - what little I have of Chinatown. I grew up in the 70s, which was a full 2 decades later. My memories were those of laundry hanging from 2nd and 3rd floor windows (like those in your pics), a butcher skinning a python by the roadside and of course, the smell of the drains (which were almost as bad as that of the old Singapore River before the clean up). My distant aunt & uncle had a small shop along Hokkien Street, which I believe is across the current Fook Hai Building. I remember a big Rado or Paggol clock advertising sign above their shop. I remember, too, the smell and texture of bee tai bak, served dry and with lots of fried salty minced pork at a coffeshop along the same street, the dried goods shops along China Street where my granny got lots of dried octopus, scallops and herbal stuff. There was also a Poh Kong Chye goldsmith somewhere around that area and a watch shop where granny bought me my first wrist watch. If she bought too many things then we'd catch a cab from somewhere along Cross Street back to Commonwealth Avenue where we used to live after being relocated from one of the godown shopshoused along Singapore River. The metered fare was less than $2 I think.

Also, my cousin studied for a few years in Braddel Rise before transfering out to Bt Merah. He used to live in Sin Min Estate, Block 23 I think, or was it 24? I remember the car repair workshops and of venturing into the fringes of the MacRitchie forest.

On another note, I don't suppose you remember a Hill 265 or 165 in the Mandai area that was used for army training? I remember scrambling up that place. And of stealing a jackfruit from someone's backyard at Ama Keng village. Luckily didn't get charged for doing it!

Thanks for the memories!

Lam Chun See said...

I think it was Hill 265. Anyway, most of them are gone.

In other countries, people sing "Where Have All The Floweres Gone". In Spore we sing "Where Have All The Hills Gone".

In other countries people sing; (the flowers have) "gone to graveyards everyone". In Spore we sing,(the graveyards) "gone to HDB flats everyone"; e.g. Bishan.

potpourri said...

Great blog! It's exciting and fascinating to take a trip back in time of Singapore again.

God bless!

Victor said...

Andrew, welcome to Chun See's blog. I enjoyed reading your comments. As I have never seen your comments here before, I am assuming that you a new visitor here. But on the other hand, I know Chun See to be a very sociable person who have friends all over the world, some even as far as in Scotland. So I will not be surprised if you are actually an old... er sorry, long-time friend of Chun See. This seems to be supported by the fact that Chun See didn't welcome you to his blog and I had to do it for him. That's not quite him.

Chun See, the poet in you has given us the two very funny analogies which couldn't be more true.

Hmm, looks like the circle of friends with common interests is growing larger by the day - so large that it now extends from Chinatown to Commonwealth, hee.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this site. I grew up in the 1980's and am quite clueless about our past. I have always been intrigued by life in the 60's and 70's and what it must have been like growing up in such robust times. As much as i follow the advancements in technology, i sometimes pause and wonder what it was like to actually be a part of laying the foundation for all the technology we see now. Your blog proves to be an invaluable insight for me and many others im sure. Once again, Thank You for sharing your memories with us.
- Ingrid.

Anonymous said...

wahhhhhh!!!!!!! Uncle!! YOU ROCK!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chun See,

I think you have still not disclosed the names of the four actors/actresses in your To The Movies quizes.

Lionel Tan said...


I think your blog is great, let me as a new young kid in Singapore know more about history of Singapore. I am a 15 year old gy living in the east and do find your blog really intresting. Blog more! Let us know more about the pass of Singapore history!!! :)

(You are in "Our Blogger Heros" list in

Victor said...

Wah Chun See, why the sudden deluge of comments? Frankly, I am quite envious of your new found fame. Soon you may be as famous as Kenny Sia or infamous as Rockson. Hope some of the attention rubs off on me since you've a link to my blog. Rock on uncle, haha.

andrew said...

the biggest surprise I had in recent years was returning to Sembawang, along a stretch of Upper Thomson Road where Cheap John's bicycle shop was(is?). I remember going along that stretch some years back and it was completely wooded on both sides of the road. I went back there 2 years ago and a friend who was with me pointed out that area and said, "eh remember that time..." I was quite dumbfounded by the change.

By the way, since we're on this topic. Anyone knows where the old Somapah bus terminal is located in modern context? I remember bus no. 12 used to stop there in the early 80s.

Mockingbird said...

Sago Street used to be known as 死人街and was used for collecting corpses, right?

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael
Juts picked up your comment this evening....just back in Scotland.
Sago Street is what you saw on the blog as pictured by Lam Chun See. Sago lane was the [死人街].
It used to run parallel to Sago Street. Unfortunately today thst Sago Lane is no more.....been bull-dozed into flat ground and so went the old terrace gouses.

Simon (Chun Sing)